The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Birth Interrupts FWW Video Shoot

comments (7) October 7th, 2011 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 14 users recommend

Garrett Hacks upcoming video workshop is chock-full of hand tool work. For this project, he set his planer and jointer aside, opting for good old-fashioned elbow grease.
This fir and cherry side table features a spinout drawer, and some beautiful tapered (and splayed) legs adorned with ebony socks.
Garrett was kind enough to hitch a sled up to his horse, Jazz, for a ride into the woods to check out his various piles of lumber. While it certainly was romantic to go cruising through snowy Vermont in a horsedrawn sled, I would rather have been accompamied by my wife!
Garrett Hacks upcoming video workshop is chock-full of hand tool work. For this project, he set his planer and jointer aside, opting for good old-fashioned elbow grease. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Garrett Hack's upcoming video workshop is chock-full of hand tool work. For this project, he set his planer and jointer aside, opting for good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Photo: Ed Pirnik

If you've already flipped through the pages of Fine Woodworking #222, you may have noticed a promotion near the front of the issue for an upcoming Video Workshop series with Garrett Hack. His fir and cherry side table is an advanced project that seems a heck of a lot more simple than it actually is. With its splayed cherry legs, fir top and aprons, and unique spinout drawer, I knew from the get-go, that producing a video series based on this piece was going to be a challenge. And for those of you out there ready to up your woodworking game, I'd suggest giving this project a try when it premieres online October 14th.

The "challenge" was all-the-more real due to the fact that my wife was pregnant with our first child during the script-writing phase. I had to time things perfectly if I expected to get the footage we needed in the can and off to the edit room before the arrival of fatherhood. If I could wrap up shooting two weeks prior to my baby's due-date, things would be just fine.

In the early morning hours of February 21, 2011, I packed up my gear, picked up my videographer (former Fine Homebuilding staffer John Ross) and set off for the four-hour drive from Newtown, CT to Garrett's shop in Thetford Center, VT. The drive straight up Interstate 91 was relaxing, and I couldn't help but marvel at the beautiful weather, stunning scenery, and just jaw-dropping ambience of Garrett's set-up as we made our way down his snow-packed driveway, huffing and puffing with enough video gear on our backs to outfit a small studio.

About an hour later, our lights set up and the video tape rolling, we began to shoot the series as the skies belched out an intermittent snow that was both beautiful, and potentially treacherous as we began to think about the drive back to the hotel that evening. Garrett's shop is more like a home than a place of business, in that it exudes a warmth akin to a something out of a Garrison Keillor novel. It's quaint, inviting, and just plain fun to work in, and as the video tape continued to roll, the three of us became comfortable enough with one another to begin joking about the fact that my wife was only about three weeks shy of giving birth to our first child. "You just watch, she's going to go into labor while you're up here," crowed Garrett. The three of us cracked smiles, and while John and Garrett's were nothing more than innocent smirks, mine was more of a nervous tick, born out of the fact that I had a sneaking suspicion there was some truth to his words.

After shooting the first episode on crafting the table's legs, John and I headed back to our hotel, grabbed some grub, and re-grouped to figure out the next day's game plan. We retired to our separate rooms, and after a call to my wife, back in Connecticut, I hit the sack confident that I'd be back home with plenty of time for my baby to arrive.

The call came at 3:30 in the morning


The reason for my early departure - Two days after rushing home from the video shoot, my wife Kathleen and I leave the hospital with our new daughter, Gwyneth. Garrett and videographer John Ross were still up north shooting video! click to enlarge

Something was amiss with my wife and we decided to have a close friend drive her to the hospital for a checkup. Meanwhile, up in Vermont, I was busy showering in a bid to wake myself up when the phone rang again. Kathleen was in labor (nearly three weeks early) and I was some four hours away. With little time to lose, I surged out of the door to my room, woke poor John up out of a dead sleep and came up with a game plan. John would remain behind to finish up the balance of shooting on his own. And me? I made a beeline straight to the nearest gas station, stocked up on gas, coffee, and No-Doze, and hit the highway.

Highway regulations were of no consequence to me at this point. I topped out at about 95mph, drove in breakdown and HOV lanes, and pretty much disregarded just about every law I can think of, in a bid to make it to Stamford Hospital in time. Did I?


My daughter Gwyneth arrived only 30 minutes before I hit the brakes outside the hospital. But all was well. Mother and daughter had experienced a super-fast delivery, both were healthy, and I was home. In fact, I had heard my daughter's first cries on my cell phone during the home stretch to Stamford Hospital.

As for Garrett-I can't help but think his gentle ribbing about my wife going into labor during the video shoot somehow reached my daughter's ears in-utero. If they did, I'd say he owes me at least a beer. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the cuddly little person who decided to begin her final journey to daughterdom while I was busy doing one of my favorite things; talking shop.


posted in: blogs

Comments (7)

NikonD80 NikonD80 writes: Ed, that's exactly why I took out my online subscription with Fine Woodworking. I learn far, far more from watching those video workshops than I do from all the other sources combined. In fact, those videos are the reason why I'm a woodworker.
Posted: 6:10 am on October 11th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Thanks again.
Indeed, I had read that little tidbit about her name. Incidentally, her middle name is "Carli" - an homage to two of my favorite cousins in Cuba (where my mother is from and where I visit family from time-to-time). Now I've just got to work on making her bilingual! A good skill nowadays, to be sure.
But that still leaves me wanting to head back up to Garrett's in the near future. I learned more in that one day watching Garrett work (about woodworking) than all the reading I've done on the subject over the years. It's wonderful to watch a skilled craftsman/woman go at their craft with such skill!


Posted: 7:21 am on October 8th

tomsb tomsb writes: Congratulations mom and dad.
My wife quite her job two weeks before projected birthdate to have some time to get the house in order. They had a little farewell lunch for her at work on a Friday. That night we were in the hospital 27 years ago Thursday for the birth of our daughter. Enjoy the ride and resume responsible driving.
Posted: 6:11 am on October 8th

WoodCrafter WoodCrafter writes: Now there's a project well done!

Gwyneth \gw(y)-ne-th\ as a girl's name is of Welsh origin, and the meaning of Gwyneth is "happiness".

Posted: 3:26 am on October 8th

GT64 GT64 writes: The only thing better than your children are grandchildren - congratulations - it is wonderful.
Posted: 5:24 pm on October 7th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Thanks NikonD80! My daughter is going to have a great birth story when she's a bit older!
Posted: 1:14 pm on October 7th

NikonD80 NikonD80 writes: Many congratulations to both new parents.
Little Gweneth looks like a real cutie. Treasure this time, it goes by so fast.
Posted: 10:59 am on October 7th

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